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Faith is a thorny subject these days.  Its negative manifestations and its seeming incompatibility with reason cause many to dismiss it out of hand. But Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel urges us to reconsider:  for faith is really nothing but our natural proclivity to find certainty in a world where certainty is hard to come by.  And if we look carefully, we’ll discover that the faith impulse isn’t separate from logic at all—faith and logic in fact work together in a playful and dynamic relationship that reveals the profoundest kind of truth—a truth beyond the limits of “is” and “is not.” Using the traditional Buddhist teachings on dependent arising, Elizabeth leads us on an experiential journey to discover the essential interdependence of everything, and through that thrilling discovery to open ourselves to the whole wonderful range of human experience.

Excerpt: "I wrote this book as a tribute to the experience of grace, the source, from which all authentic faith traditions have emerged. But I also had something else in mind. I wanted to introduce the natural principle of Pratityasamutpada, 'dependent arising,' into a bigger conversation regarding faith. I wanted to present an investigation that would liberate 'faith' from the stagnant realm of individual and cultural beliefs and go beyond the vague assumptions that remain locked up in language." 

I welcome The Logic of Faith with both excitement and relief. To generations of Western practitioners habituated to linear thinking, the Buddha’s central teaching of pratityasamutpada has remained a hidden jewel, taken as either too obvious to be interesting (as ‘everything has a cause’) or too arcane to be relevant to real life. Elizabeth Namgyel not only grasps, but conveys with fresh immediacy and delight the essence of this key to the dharma. She helps us to experience the reciprocity at the heart of the universe—and, in so doing, to rediscover our mutual belonging and the sheer grace of our existence.
— Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life
In this lovely book, Namgyel (The Power of an Open Question), Buddhist retreat master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling in Colorado, explores the possibilities of the Buddhist concept of pratityasamutpada (roughly translated as “dependent arising”), understood as the idea that everything leans on, or is interdependent with, everything else. “Dependent arising” is a key concept in Middle Way Buddhist teaching, the tradition in which Namgyel was trained and teaches. Ideally, the student’s exploration and use of pratityasamutpada allows for the understanding of impermanence, nonattachment, and the illusion of appearances, which Namgyel illustrates with a striking—and very funny—story about a messy roommate. She also offers an in-depth discussion of the ramifications that acceptance of pratityasamutpada may entail for the practitioner, including feelings of loneliness and disconnection in addition to feelings of transcendence. Namgyel offers guided meditations designed to help the reader explore and experience interconnected reality; these are also available on the Shambhala Publications website for those who prefer audio guidance. Namgyel’s handling of a complex, potentially intimidating topic is exquisite, and students of all levels will find something useful in her teaching.
— Publishers Weekly

You may also be interested in Elizabeth's first book: The Power of An Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom

 


 

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